An abortion – when performed by an accredited doctor – is a safe way for women to terminate unplanned pregnancies. Despite it being a safe and well-established procedure, abortion often remains shrouded with misunderstandings. Here are some main guidelines surrounding abortion services in Singapore:
- Abortion is legal in Singapore provided that the pregnancy is no more than 24 weeks. The exception to the 24-week rule is if continuing with the pregnancy endangers the life and health of the pregnant woman. The procedure should also be carried out by a qualified abortion doctor in an accredited abortion clinic, as well as hospitals.
- A woman can request to have an abortion regardless of her reason or age. Girls 16 years old and below do not have to obtain parental consent to have an abortion, but will have to undergo counselling from MOH beforehand. However, should she be 14 and below, it will be considered statutory rape in Singapore and her parents and the police will be notified.
- An abortion is only offered to Singaporean citizens or the wife of a Singaporean citizen. For foreigners, an abortion is only possible if they are work pass holders or the wife of a work pass holder, have been residing in Singapore for at least four months, or who immediately require an abortion if the pregnancy is endangering their health.
- Every woman who requests for an abortion in Singapore will first need to undergo mandatory counselling. Following this, she will be provided with a 48-hour cooldown period to decide whether she wants to go through with the procedure or not. An abortion can only be done after the 48-hour waiting period has lapsed.
- Depending on the length of pregnancy, the abortion procedure differs. Early pregnancies can be terminated through a medical abortion (abortion pill), while later term pregnancies are usually terminated through surgery. However, abortion doctors generally prefer the surgical method as it is the safest and most effective, comfortable and predictable option.